FREE AT LAST! FREE AT LAST!
Beloved Partners sing it with me!
There are no words -- there are no words to express the joy, the wonder, the relief, the PRAISE that floods my soul as I write this historic letter to you, my faithful prayer warriors! Most of you know that, for over 8 years, we have been fighting a LIFE or DEATH battle to preserve this great Voice -- this great network, called TBN, Trinity Broadcasting Network! Yes, the focus of that battle was MIAMI, but if Miami had been lost, along with several of our other licenses that were at issue, it would only have been a matter of time until all would have been lost -- BUT GOD DIDN'T LET THAT HAPPEN!
It would take me TEN THOUSAND pages to recount the awesome days of struggle, battle, tears and prayers, most of it behind the scenes -- and lawyers, briefs, pleadings, petitions, hearings -- and WAITING -- and, Dear God, the sleepless nights, when at times all seemed lost! During much of the time we were forbidden by law to even tell you on television, or by letter, the nightmare Jan and I, along with all of our loyal staff,were going through. But many of you precious prayer partners KNEW -- in the Spirit! A letter would come at just the right time, a call, an e-mail, a fax, a word of prophecy, a scripture -- just what was needed for the moment! By the way, I have kept all of those letters and communications and I will be personally responding to each one. Quite a stack has accumulated, there in my private prayer den, and I will ever cherish every one of them.
As I said, it would take much more time and space than I have here to recount the complexity of this most unique case, but Jan is encouraging me to write a final chapter to update my book, "I Had No Father But God." Actually she said, "The Partners will write the last chapter," and she is absolutely correct. If it had not been for those "Save Your TBN Macedonian Praise-A-Thons" in the summer of 1997 and 1998, there would be no TBN today! Your outpouring of love and resources proved to our enemies that we had not only the faith and trust in God, but the filthy lucre they were demanding to settle and dismiss their claims to the licenses of your TBN!
So what was the charge? To try and make a very long story short, our competitors charged that Paul Crouch improperly controlled two more TV stations (14 instead of 12) than the FCC policy allowed. This, I swore under oath at the hearing, WAS NOT TRUE. Even our own FCC attorney, Mr. Colby May, stepped down from being our counsel and took the witness stand, telling the judge, Mr Joseph Chakin, that he had interpreted the new FCC policy allowing me to be involved with two more stations, and had given TBN his best legal advice that we were qualified to have a cognizable interest in the additional TV stations. By the way, TBN was the first applicant to use the new FCC policy that permitted an owner to have the two extra TV stations above the limit of 12.
After the hearing was over in December of 1993, we waited. The FCC staff of lawyers who tried the case finally made their recommendation to the judge. They said, in essence, that the rules were not clear and that TBN was qualified and should have all licenses renewed! We thought the ordeal was over, but the judge ruled against us and denied the renewal of our Miami license!
Now, our competitors thought they had us! Demands were made for exorbitant amounts of so-called "settlement" monies. I call it, "legalized extortion."
Finally, our appeal went all the way to the full five member FCC commission. After more months of agonizing waiting, they ruled three to two to uphold Judge Chakin's decision, and to deny the renewal of our Miami license! The two Republican commissioners, Mr. Michael Powell and Mr. Harold Furchtgott-Roth, wrote that TBN was qualified and should have its Miami license renewed. But the three Democratic commissioners, Mr. William Kennard, the chairman, Ms. Gloria Tristani and Ms. Susan Ness wrote that TBN had violated FCC policy and that Miami should be denied!
Without further appeal, we went straight to federal court. After many more months of waiting, I attended the final oral arguments in Washington, D.C., on February 29. Many of us were praying silently in the Spirit, and I know many of you were also praying, since we had alerted you to the court case on that date. By the way, that courtroom was charged with the Spirit of God! I could FEEL your prayers in a very real and precious way.
Our attorney, Mr. Timothy Dyk, did an excellent job of explaining to the three judge panel that the FCC had not given TBN, or anyone, clear notice as to the rules and procedures of this FCC policy. What makes this whole case so outrageous is the fact that the FCC never did have any clear rules written down for us to follow!
The FCC lawyer countered that Crouch should have known this and that, and on and on! Finally, the chief judge interrupted the FCC lawyer and said, in essence, "Counsellor, if the FCC did not give TBN clear notice as to the rules of this policy, your whole case collapses!" Many more penetrating questions were hurled at the FCC lawyer and the case was over. Again, we were told you must wait -- 60, 90, perhaps 120 days!
But dear, dear Partners, the most glorious NEWS I share with you today -- in fact, the most important news I have EVER shared in the 27-year history of TBN is this:
Yes, "Whom the Son sets free, is FREE INDEED!" Praise the Lord God Most High! This great VOICE, this great NETWORK IS FREE INDEED! FREE to preach the Gospel, FREE to sing His praises, FREE to GO, GO, GO into all the world with the glorious GOOD NEWS that Jesus saves, Jesus heals, that Jesus is coming again!
I believe it was providential that I would receive this awesome news while in Madras, India. I had been invited to speak to a great gathering of over 300,000 and to review the TBN network that is now coming to over 100 million souls in INDIA by satellite and cable. When I asked that huge crowd if they were able to watch TBN, it looked like every hand went up! I was overwhelmed with joy. Our partners in Honolulu, Michael Hughes, and Greg Rice, are doing a magnificent job getting the Miracle TBN Network into many nations of Asia.
I'm out of space here, but next month I will report on my visit to Spain, where our DBS satellite station for all Europe is being moved. I'll tell of the great Kenya crusade of dear Benny Hinn that Jan and I were thrilled to be a part of. Jan got to visit the children's hospital and, yes, dolls and trucks brought smiles to many a child! I'll tell more of the great India visit, and, perhaps, most important of all, my trip to Beijing, China! Ah, dear Partners, China is opening, just as we prayed! Oh, so very much to tell. I'll give much of it all on Behind The Scenes and Praise.
But the GOOD NEWS that eclipsed all the others was -- FREE AT LAST, FREE AT LAST -- PRAISE GOD ALMIGHTY, WE'RE FREE AT LAST! Do Jan and I love you? THERE ARE NO WORDS!
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